Lehigh University Top Questions

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

Sam

First off, my senior was loaded with AP classes and school clubs. I do not regret it at all. If anything, I would tell myself to have taken AP Spanish on top of Calculus, Literature, and Biology. I cannot stress enough how lucky I am now to have been able to come into college with a small supply of credits already. I think i should have been more involved in other extracurriculars outside of my high school, though. Also, I would have told myself that it is ok to relax sometimes and just enjoy the time I had with the oldest friends I have at this point in time. Sure, at college you make lifelong friends. But, there is nothing like the people you grew up with and had seen in school five days a week for twelve years of your life. All in all, work hard and don't slack (no matter how tempting it is!) College applications are stressful, but you end up where you belong. Relax and don't get too worked up over everything. It will all work out in the end.

Austin

I would go back to tell myself to not rush into any situation especially when it comes to big decisions. Making rash decisions can only retard your growing process. To make the best decision for your life entails deep thought, reflection, and self-development. Also, I would tell myself to pursue a major or career that best fits my strengths and interest. I listened to far too many other people when it came to making my own decisions such as college institutions and what I should and should not study. I would make sure to tell myself to be more aggressive when it comes to pursuing relationships whether they be friends, girlfriends, or even frenemies. The relationships developed in college will go a long way when applying for a job, internship, or even a class. If a time machine is ever built I would tell myself to pursue my own desires, be aggressive in developing relationships, and take my time when making life changing decisions.

Carolyn

I would tell myself that it is your responsibility to make the most of your college carreer. You will become a responsible student in a few months. Before you go away to college make sure you know how to do your laundry, wake up on your own and most importantly manage your time efficiently. Have a good balance between school and your social life. You want to make sure you get the most out of your academics and your social life. And most importantly you don't want your studies to take a back seat to your social life. Do not go over board with having a good time. Get the most out of school!

Melanie

I would tell myself to never lose sight of myself, what I enjoy, and what I believe in. I would tell myself to avoid peer pressure and always stay true to myself. I would definitely tell myself to really focus on learning not to procrastinate, because if you do it in college, it's that much worse. I would tell myself to take advantage of all the knowledge the professors possess...it's really very invaluable. I would tell myself to enjoy life, and not to take myself too seriously all the time, but only when it is important to do so, AKA in terms of things like GPA, career prospects, etc. I would tell myself to not delay getting involved, not to tell myself "oh, I'll do it next year," because next year comes and passes, as does the next, and the next. I'd also tell myself to avoid cliques, avoid fake people, and hang around people I truly admire for who they are and how they make me feel. I'd tell myself to have fun, but do it safely!

Brendan

Hey buddy, a word of advice. Take it from me, you will get into a college. Don't have so much anxiety over that uncertainty. I know you are really sweating it because all of a sudden you are afraid that none of the schools to which you have just applied will "accept" you. Instead, you need to know you will get into one of them and likely more than one of them, so start thinking about which one of them you will "accept." It is so crucial for you to feel happy and comfortable about where you will be making your new home for the next four years. Based on the experiences of my high school friends as well as my fellow freshman at college that it is so important to feel like you are in the right place when you get to college. What I am saying is pick carefully from among the colleges that accept you. The college you select might not be the one that is ranked the highest. That should not be your first consideration. To do well once you get to college, you need feel like you are in the right place.

Erin

If I were to go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior about transitioning to college, I would tell myself to have more fun and to relax. During my first semester of college, I was so worried about doing well in my classes, that I didn't really join any clubs or organizations on campus because I was afraid I wouldn't have enough time to do everything. Instead, I spent all my time doing homework and studying because I was afraid of a bad first semester GPA haunting me later in my college career. Unfortunately, when I returned back to my hometown for winter break and met up with my high school friends, I didn't really have any "crazy college stories" with which to regale them, while they had plenty. I felt like I missed out on a lot of fun in my first semester compared to my friends. I've realized now that I was very intimidated by the transition to college because it was just so different from high school -- new setting, experiences, responsibilities, people. If I could do it all over, I would seize more opportunities for fun!

Ana

Dear myself from the past(which is now currently the present), Take adanced placement calculus. Do not quit pre-calc in the summer. Do not change anything else. Relax, and enjoy life. Senior year will have its ups and downs but it will be memorable to say the least. Do not slack off in English at th end. Regards, From future self in 2010. Yes, you have become quite old. P.S. You can dissregard all this if you'd like. I'm quite happy with how things are now. It would just make life a little bit more sweeter than it already is.

Kelsey

Hands down, the most important advice I would give my past self is to be positive, be open, and don't make assumptions about people and situations until you have adequately experienced them. Though I feel like somewhat of a flounderer as a double major in the liberal arts at Lehigh, where most students are math, science, and research oriented, if I could do it again, I would make the same decision of matriculation. While I've had to fight for respect among my peers, that effort has made me a different person. I still find some classes unsatisfying in the areas of thought provoking discussion; however, I've taken them as challenges. Initially I was disappointed, but since I have recently decided to take my own advice, (be positive and open) I am not only learning the material but i'm also learning how to take in subject matter differently, as well as how I adapt and perservere in new and different situations. The only thing I would advice my younger self to do differently is to be open to the change initially, and allow the evolution of the self to take place.

Jeannette

I would advise going to a larger school to have access to a community with more resources and opportunities for work, being involved with the community during school, and living a more normal life.

David

Just go where you want and don't let region or other people influence you. While in college remember to study, but still have fun, too many burn themselves out.

Minu

There?s a lot of advice I could give prospective freshman and their parents. The most important would have to be, RELAX. The choice of college is not one that is binding nor is it this stressful process we feel we must make it out to be. Colleges are businesses; they want bright students to bring them wealth and fame. It is what they hold inside that matters. The truth is that wherever you go, you will be fine if you take good care of yourself and work to your potential. That said, you should aspire to find a community that could push you past your potential. It is where you go that will determine how you discover yourself; the kind of person you are or the kind of person you would like to be. College is a journey of self-enlightenment influenced by your peers, the faculty, the surrounding community, and the experiences you create together. There is no right college, it is what you make out of the resources you are provided with. Granted, you should make sure the resources you require for your intended goal are offered, but other than that, the rest is up to you.

Alyssa

You have to pick a college that fits you. Don't pick a school based on where your best friend is going or what your parents want. You need to find a place where you feel comfortable, where you can see yourself living and learning for four years. Go on tours, talk to current students, get in touch with the faculty and staff there...they'll help you make the right decision. Once you've picked a school, my best advice for you is to just put yourself out there. Try something new that you've never done before. Join a club that they didn't have at your high school. Play a club sport. Talk to people. It's important to move outside of your comfort zone. If you do that, you're more likely to meet a diverse range of people. And don't forget that, while your primary reason for attending school is to learn and get a degree, it's also okay to have fun! Find a balance between your academics and your social life and you're going to have a wonderful time.

Chaucy

Comfort. That is the key when choosing a college. It is all about the feeling. I walked onto Lehigh University's campus, and after fifteen minutes, I said to my parents, "I could do this everyday for four years." I looked at 30 schools, and the one I chose, I ended up not even taking a scheduled tour on the campus. My family and I did a self-guided tour. I found myself walking ahead of my parents, and wanting to know what was around each corner. If you can picture yourself walking to class on the main walkway, and doing things WITHOUT your parents than that is the college for you. College is about independence, and growing up. Look at too many colleges. I have seen too many people just settle on a college. DON'T SETTLE. "Okay," is not an adjective that you want to describe your future college. Find a college where you smile when you tell people about it. Try to many things, and meet too many people. College is not just about an education. Find a place where you can expand as a whole person.

Chris

Go to a school where you think you will learn a lot, get a good job after graduating, and fit in socially

Alison

My advice to parents and students regarding their college search would be to take your time and focus on all aspects of a school. Don't get hung up on one detail. I was determined to go to a school in a big city, so I applied to several without taking the time to really learn as much as I could about each. During your search, take into consideration class sizes, availability of professors and advisors, and whether problems will be resolved quickly, in addition to on-campus organizations and residential life. Find out whether studies are flexible, so that if you want to change your major, it would be easy to do so. Lastly, realize that even if you don't end up at your first choice, you can always turn your college experience into something positive. I didn't love my college choice at first, but I found friends with similar interests, and discovered my passion in life along the way. College is what you make it, so find one that will challenge and excite you.

Alyssa

It is important to select a college that will cater to your needs in terms of your major and learning abilities, but attending college is not only about getting a degree. Parents and students should consider the programs availble and organizations and teams to join. However, the most influential factor should be how the student interacts with the student body. Living away from home and leaving high school friends is challenging, but can be extremely rewarding if the student thrives at his/her new school and makes new friends. If the student is uncomfortable in his /her new environment, the next four or more years of their life could be the most miserable instead of the most memorable.

Anna

Keep an open mind as to where you or your child want to go. Make sure you have visited the campus of each college where you are applying. I had my heart set on a completely different college because it was close to my friends from home, but then I visited Lehigh last and found that the laboratories and quality of the campus were so much better than the other colleges I had looked at. It took a long time to figure out where I finally wanted to go. This is a decision that you will have to live with for the rest of your life and career. Look at the alumni network, campus grounds, buildings, and classrooms. Ask a current student what it is like to go to the school or, even better, spend a weekend on campus going to a few classes and then explore the social life. It is alright to say no to a school that you had anticipated to be where you wanted to go and that had already accepted you. If they are really that good, they will just want you to be happy...and maybe even offer you a sweeter finacial aid package!

Fatima

The question that should always be in the back of your mind when choosing a school is ?How realistic of a match is this for me?? Everyone wants to attend the schools with the best names; however, these schools are not for every student. Take your time and take into consideration every aspect of the school, including social life. Many people excuse the social climate when making final decisions on a school not realizing that social life plays a major part in student emotional health and the overall college experience.

Samantha

Go into this process with an open mind. The best way to decide on a school is to go on a campus tour, sit in a class, eat in the dining hall, experience the average day of a student at that school and see if it fits for you. Look at the all of the academic and extra curricular programs the school has to offer. Once attending school, be adventerous to trying something new. You have a clean slate and only four short years that just fly by. Make the most out of it.

Renee

College is not just about education but about the experience as well. For the parents, make sure that your child is not only getting the best education that they can, but also make sure they are getting a great experience out of it as well. People used to tell me that college will be the best four years of your life, and I did not really believe it, until now when I am in my senior year and thinking about actually missing classes and the lifelong friends that I have made. For the students, the same advice applies. College is not all about studying and taking tests, make sure to have fun and let loose every now and then, because the four years will fly by very quickly and you will find yourself wishing you had gone out more with your friends or gotten more involved with activities on campus. My point is make sure to go to class and have some fun too!

Carolyn

Consider yourselves a team. Having parents and students work together in the search process is ideal because the more input you get the better. However, besides financials, the choice should be put in the hands of the student, after all, they're the one whose going to attend school there. Next, keep your options open. There are lots of schools out there, and you will probably have difficulty at first, but visit as many schools as possible because it's the best way to find out if you could see yourself there. I knew I wanted to go to Lehigh the moment I arrived on campus and not a second before. To make the most of your college experience, take your time; you probably won't know what you want to study right away. Try a variety of courses and activites and narrow from there. Find something that makes you happy, whether you're good at it or not; the worst thing you can do is do something just because you're good at it because you'll end up hating it if it doesnt make you happy. When you find something that makes you happy, you'll be successful.

Diraj

When searching for a college, do not limit yourself to the colleges you hear your friends and family mention, and do not limit yourself to school rankings. While some schools are better than others, there is much more to college than taking classes relevant to your career path. College is a time where students learn how to be responsible, take care of themselves, and explore the world in a unique way; the time you spend at college has the potential to develop an individual's character and personality and can serve as a crucial stepping stone into the real world. How can you make the most of the college experience? Remember that the most expensive colleges aren't always the best, so don't worry about being limited in your "experience" because you aren't spending $40,000 a year on college. Take courses you normally wouldn't such as a religion course or economics - without throwing yourself out there you will never know what other interests you may have. The most important thing to learn while at college is learning how to balance activities. Learn how to balance out friends and homework, clubs and sports, or grades and fun.

valerie

It is definately very helpful to know what you want to do before you get to school. That way, you are very motivated to earn a high GPA from the start, rather than find out later what it is you are interested in and then become excited about working hard to excell.

Andrea

I would advice students to choose the college that makes them feel most as if they were at home. They should use factors such as size and academics as a guide but not allow simply those to base their decision. Also, the student should weigh all of the pros and cons and visit as many schools they are interested as they can. Parents should be there to help their young adults in narrowing down their choices and well as give them a wide array of options. They should not limit the student to colleges only the parents are intetrested in, but allow them to choose one they feel they will grow most as a person and student.

Doug

College will be the most memorable 4 years of you or your son or daughter's life. Visit campuses to see if you want to be there for four years but most importantly make sure the college has what you're looking for academically. Make sure the college is flexible with major changes as well. Not many people graduate from college with a degree in what they thought they wanted to do freshman year.

Larry

Be sure to talk to students who are do not work for the school - ask those walking around, ask people that you/your child knows about whats it really like. be sure to talk to people in and out of greek, different majors etc etc

Philip

As parents and students begin the process of searching for a college, they need to ensure that both are on the same page. Attending a college or university can be a very expensive experience. They need to discuss financial limitations, if necessary. They should also consider the distance of the college from home, and how the student will travel back and forth, another financial commitment. Most importantly, the parents need to allow the student to attend the college where they feel the best connection. Parents may want to plan their child's life in terms of career, school, internships, etc... However, this will doom the student fromthe beginning, unless they are in agreement with the parent and truly share the same vision for their future. A school that was right for the parent 25-30 years ago may not be the same school. Parents need to allow their student to explore life in a way that opens their minds to ideas and challenges for their futures. Understanding, patience, and an open mind are the best things that both parents and students can have in delaing with each other, and in dealing with the process of college life.

lauren

When looking for a college it's not just about some preconceived checklist. It's mostly about how the student feels on a campus. If i chose my school based solely on its gym, building upkeep and reputation there is no way i would be as happy as if i had just followed my gut. Choosing a campus is all about the atmosphere. Try and get to know people and deffinitely don't apply early without staying overnight-this was a pivotal experience for me. As for what happens when you actually get there? Go to orientation, meet as many peopole as possible and if your school has one enroll in a pre-orientation experience. I met 100 students before I even truly walked on campus and it made me feel so much more comfortable with fellow first years and upperclassmen (upperclassmen lead the trips at most schools.) Find things you like to do clubs, acapella groups, community service organizations and go with it. Talk to people in your classes-I've made great friends that way. To make the best out of college try new things you never thought of before. Study often but have fun-its college!

Rose

Always be sure to check out everything, and not just academics. Talk to other prospective students and especially students that are already attending your choice schools. Understand what the school is going to offer you and your future and whether it is worth the cost. Discover all activities and sports that you would be interested in joining, as well as whether or not you are interested in Greek life. Decide the types of things you will be studying and be sure that your school can help you as much as possible in achieving your goals. Most of all, make a close-knit group of friends that will be there for you throughout your college experience; then live it to the fullest.

James

When you find the school right for you, you will feel it as you tour. Once you're there, make the absolute most of it. Try things new to you, take risks, have a blast. Study, but don't let class rule your life. You don't have class on the weekends for a reason. Don't forget to breathe.

Celia

Do a lot of research not only on the school, but on the specific department you are majoring in. Figure out how much of the school's budget goes to funding that program and if there are any professors whose research is aligned with your interests for potential research opportunities.

Catharine

I truly believe that the student knows what's best. There's a feeling you get when you step on to the campus you belong on that no one else can feel. I would say to trust your instincts and know what it is you want, why you want it, and how to get it. Don't be afraid to go somewhere different or to break away from friends and family tradition. College is the most important 4 years of your life and it should really be a decision taken seriously.

Michael

Select a school based on reputation and how your "feel" for it when you visit, NOT whether it's a party school, or lame, etc... And once you begin, BE OPEN MINDED. My sister has transfered between three schools because she thought her college experience was going to be exactly like mine right off the bat. I absolutely loved my experience, but that may not be typical, and it may only come with time. So, PLEASE give the school you choose a chance. Go in opened minded, and it'll work out.

Kristen

I think the best way to describe the power you have over your happiness and success at school is to describe my own experience. I chose my college because of the remarkable pride and support almuni and upperclassmen showed towards it. Surely if all of these people loved this school I would too, right? WRONG. I wanted out first semester, but something inside me ached to find that magic. I needed to find my niche so I joined any and every club that seemed remotely interesting. Countless meetings and resignations later, I'd found my happy place. It took some effort on my part but what I earned was a family and a home. I can't imagine being anywhere else. There is no right or wrong answer when you are a choosing college; what's important is what you make of your experience. Obviously, there are a few extraneous cases (I know kids who were driven out of schools by loud picketing or early morning protests). Generally speaking, no matter what school you go to you'll have some of the most memorable moments of your life and some of the toughest; this is the nature of the beast.

Nancy

If a student isn't happy at their college, that student won't be successful at that college. Don't focus solely on the prestige of a college because that alone won't make a student happy. Concentrate on the type of people, type of campus, type of classes, and type of extracurricular and social activities that college has. There's no point in making a home at a place you hate for four years.

laura

follow your heart and enjoy every minute of it.

Rachel

Definately look beyond just the classes offered. Talking to students is the best way. It is always interesting to ask people what they don't like about their school, because that is not something they may readily offer

Erin

I never realized that my AP courses could make it possible for me to skip classes in college, I thought they just looked good. You have so much more flexiblity with your credits in college if you are able to skip a few basic requirements by doing well on AP exams. And as soon as you get to college, yes make friends and party and socialize and join things, but also search out the career center and find steps you will have to take to get a job or go to grad school so you know if there are any requirements you need to fulfill. I realized too late things that I should have done. Even if you have no idea what to do, take a workstudy job in an influencial office on campus (like the leadership office or in career services) so you can get ideas. GET AN INTERNSHIP early on so you can realize if what you want is right for you or to try out something. Also, it will give you networking opportunities for getting a job in the future or for recommendations.

Sarah

If the prospective student is looking strictly for academics, stop right there. When one is looking for a college to suit their needs, remember to look at the social aspect as well as where it is located, i.e., near a city, in the suburbs, in the country, etc. Don't, don't, don't only look for the academic nature of the school.

zoe

When a parent steps on to a college campus, he or she should reserve comments unless asked by the student. A parent can envision going to that institution and how it would feel but let the student make his or her decisions first. A parent's input is valuable but more so when the student asks for it. That being said, once the visit is over, the parent should encourage the student to think about his or her values and who he or she envisions his/herself to become. Can that student see the university as an enironment condusive to becoming that person? Going along with that, I think that a student should trust his or her gut feeling. In the end, I believe that many people are so different from who they are from high school to college that they make a slightly wrong decision. Still, any one can find what they want on a college campus, regardless of what they went there for in the first place. That is the beauty of university- that you can actually chape your college campus- because, I've seen it, you can. College is a metamorphosis.

Burton

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Jaclyn

My advice to parents and students would be to those who are not sure what they want out of college. Many students know exactly what the want and are able to go through a book and decide based on college guide books and statistics. If you don't know what you want out of college, which I, along with many others did not know while applying, my biggest advice would be to visit schools. I have found that many times students and parents have a strange intution about schools once they visit them. I had no idea what I wanted from a school, and if i were to look at a college guide book right now, I probably still would not know. However, I visited Lehigh, I fell in love with it, and I am still in love. That's why I'm here.

Alexandra

Visit the campus and speak with the students. First impressions, in this case, are usually pretty accurate. Don't just go somewhere because you think you should. Take a look at the activities the school offers and what other things there are on campus. If you don't enjoy your weekends or your off time, studying and classes will drown you. Meet as many people as you can and don't think that your real friends are the ones you left behind. Get involved in your school. Develop a sense of pride in this new "culture" you're about to become a part of. Plus, it's never too late to transfer, this isn't a do or die decision. Make the most out of this second chance. Not many people get that opportunity.

Ian

Be open to new opportunites and experiences. The "College Experience" is a myth that parents like to hold on to. If a student does not like where he/she is at they can transfer. However, picking the right school needs to come from the students prespective, not the parents. Let the student choose which colleges they want to look at, but the parents obviously have some input. However, when the parents take control of the situation the student will resist looking at possibly great schools for them. The student needs to learn for his or her self what they like and do not like. The "College Experience" is not for everyone. Its an ideological view that college will be an eye opening experience for the student where they will find out who they are, what they will do with their life, and enjoy every moment. That is not the case for most students. The "College Experience" is the experience for students of being independent, making their own choices, recovering from their mistakes. Parents need to realize its a time of growth for their children and to help nurture that. Parents need to be open to ther child's new ideas.

Ryan

Academics should be one of the most important factors in determining what college is right for you, but by no means should it be the only factor. Students and parents should take into account the kind of experience the student wants to have. Location (city/suburbs), size (large/small), distance (close/far from home), types of clubs and organizations offered, dining options, and most importantly, what kind of students attend the school. Make sure to take a tour of the school before your apply because there's a feeling you get by stepping on a college campus that you can't get from visiting the school online or by reading about it in a college magazine. Talk to students who attend the school to see if you could see yourself fitting in. Make the most out of your college experience by trying new things and getting involved. Use this time to discover who you are and who you want to become. Join a club you never would have in high school and try something that scares you. Now is the chance to grow as an individual and to hold nothing back.

Zach

Grace recalls the best decision and biggest mistake of her freshman year.

Mike

Make sure you talk to students in your major! I would be more than happy to tell any engineering student to stay as far away as possible, but if you are business, by all means, this is a great school for you!

Mary

I definately think that it is in your best interest to visit the schools, attend classes, and know what you are looking for. Get as much experience at the school you are choosing as you can, before you make a final decision. If you know what you want to study, go to the school with the best program. But above all, make sure you can be happy wherever you go.

Rebecca

When trying to choose a univeristy it is so important that students spend more time at the school than just a tour. Take time walking around campus, envision yourself spending four of the best years of your life there, and meet some students in clubs and organizations that you would join. Also, most students end up changing their majors, so unless you are completely sure about your career path, make sure that you choose a school that will give you a great education in any major and that has a wide variety of academic choices. If you do know what you'll be majoring in email a few professors and see if they'll let you sit in on one of their classes or meet with you while you're visiting campus. Most professors are eager to meet prospective students, and being able to hear them lecture and actually watch students interacting and learning in class will give you way more insight into the school than a brochure or statistics will.

Andrew

Parents shouldn't pressure the kids and let the kids make their own decision.

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